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Economy of the British Virgin Islands

Economy - overview: The economy, one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean, is highly dependent on tourism, which generates an estimated 45% of the national income. An estimated 350,000 tourists, mainly from the US, visited the islands in 1997. In the mid-1980s, the government began offering offshore registration to companies wishing to incorporate in the islands, and incorporation fees now generate substantial revenues. An estimated 250,000 companies were on the offshore registry by yearend 1997. The adoption of a comprehensive insurance law in late 1994, which provides a blanket of confidentiality with regulated statutory gateways for investigation of criminal offenses, is expected to make the British Virgin Islands even more attractive to international business. Livestock raising is the most important agricultural activity; poor soils limit the islands' ability to meet domestic food requirements. Because of traditionally close links with the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands has used the dollar as its currency since 1959.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $287 million (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 6.8% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $15,000 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1.8%
industry: 6.2%
services: 92% (1996 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5.3% (1998)

Labor force: 4,911 (1980)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%

Unemployment rate: 3% (1995)

Budget:
revenues: $121.5 million
expenditures: $115.5 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997)

Industries: tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete block, offshore financial center

Industrial production growth rate: 4% (1985)

Electricity - production: 42 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 39 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: fruits, vegetables; livestock, poultry; fish

Exports: $6 million (1998)

Exports - commodities: rum, fresh fish, fruits, animals; gravel, sand

Exports - partners: Virgin Islands (US), Puerto Rico, US

Imports: $175 million (1998)

Imports - commodities: building materials, automobiles, foodstuffs, machinery

Imports - partners: Virgin Islands (US), Puerto Rico, US

Debt - external: $36.1 million (1997)

Economic aid - recipient: $2.6 million (1995)

Currency: 1 United States dollar (US$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: US currency is used

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March

See also : British Virgin Islands



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